The Mer Rouge Lion's Club has played a significant role in the Mer Rouge community for many years, and recently, on December 23, they celebrated their 75th birthday.
The Mer Rouge Lion's Club was founded in 1943 with a charter being granted by the International Association of Lion's Clubs. The Lion's Club is a civic organization dedicated to promoting good government and citizenship and being active in the civic, cultural, social, and moral welfare of the community.
“We want to serve the community and help with whatever they need,” said Secretary Treasurer Tommy Rankin.
A Charter Banquet was held on January 28, 1944, as an official start to the club which included an address and acceptance of the charter.
The President at the time was W. T. Blackwell, the Vice Presidents were C. W. Montgomery, R. C. Windsor, and G. D. Bacon, and the Secretary-Treasurer was E. H. Montgomery.
The current President is Pam Laird, The Vice President is Allen Spires, and the Secretary-Treasurer is Rankin.
Since its founding the Lion's Club has assisted the community in various ways.
“Every year we do the Pre-K eye exams,” said Laird.
“We do Christmas food baskets and have given money to people such as the recent flood victims and those who have lost their homes in fires,” noted Rankin.
The club does an annual fundraiser and sponsors a local baseball team as well. They donate to many charities and causes.
Their biggest accomplishment, however, is Oak Woods Home for the Elderly, which they founded in 1965.
“It had three residents and three employees when it started,” said Rankin.
It has grown throughout the years and now has over 100 residents. They have Christmas parties for the residents as well as other events. It is run by the Lion's Club, and in fact it is stipulated in the charter that those on the Board of Directors must be Lion's Club members.
There are currently 42 members of the Lion's Club, both men and women, and they are proud to be a part of the organization and aid others in the community.
“I joined the Lion's Club to be part of the community,” said Spires.
As a younger member, he is also helping to get locals from the younger generations to join, as the club is somewhat lacking on that front.
Rankin joined just out of college, following his father's footsteps.
“At one time, in fact, he was president and I was secretary,” he said.
The Lion's Club held a celebration for its 75th birthday on Thursday, January 24. Refreshments were served, and members talked with one another. A table was set up with the club Charter, a scrapbook, and other memorabilia which guests could look through.
Laird welcomed everyone and also recognized Rankin for serving 55 years as the club's Secretary-Treasurer.
The guests visited with each other, ate, and viewed the old memorabilia.
Mer Rouge is proud of its Lion's Club, congratulates it on 75 years of existence, and looks forward to the good it will continue to do in the future.